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FCMB Launches Accelerator Programme to Empower SMEs

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has initiated an accelerator programme aimed at empowering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Nigeria. Teaming up with SkillPaddy and various industry experts, the bank seeks to equip startups and existing businesses with the necessary skills and resources to innovate, expand their market reach, and accelerate their growth trajectory.

In a strategic move, FCMB secured a Technical Assistance grant totaling N284.7 million from Proparco (the private-sector arm of the French Development Agency) and an additional N227 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB). These funds will facilitate the upskilling of approximately 1 million SMEs, with a focus on women entrepreneurs and businesses operating in high-impact sectors such as agriculture, renewable energy, and digital technology.

To inaugurate the programme, First City Monument Bank awarded N50 million in grants to 200 SMEs who participated in the inaugural training session. This significant announcement was made during an event commemorating Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023.

George Ogbonnaya, FCMB’s Group Head of SME Banking, emphasized the bank’s commitment to empowering businesses. “The FCMB Accelerator Programme underscores our dedication to fostering entrepreneurship. We aim to inspire Nigerians to pursue their business aspirations and cultivate a robust portfolio of enterprises capable of driving Nigeria’s economic transformation,” Ogbonnaya stated.

In line with its commitment to supporting women-led businesses, FCMB aims to provide mentorship and financial assistance to female entrepreneurs. “Through mentorship and access to finance, we will continue to empower these remarkable entrepreneurs,” Ogbonnaya added.

Kunle Erinle, Founder and CEO of SkillPaddy, hailed the partnership with FCMB as a game-changer for SMEs. “By enhancing productivity, we can unlock new opportunities for startups and existing businesses, ultimately contributing to Nigeria’s economic prosperity,” Erinle remarked.

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Oladimeji Olanrewaju, CEO of Sweet Indulgence by Bakhita, expressed gratitude to FCMB for the opportunity provided by the programme. “I am grateful to FCMB for this opportunity and look forward to scaling up my business through the programme,” Olanrewaju shared.

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